Buriganga launch capsize survivor says it was only the Almighty who saved his life
Sumon Bepari, who was rescued alive 13 hours after a launch capsized in the Buriganga River, stood at a place in the sunken launch by holding a steel rod to save his life.
Describing the near-death experience sitting on a bed at Mitford Hospital on Tuesday, Sumon said he was feeling drowsy at the time of incident.
"When the launch [ML Morning Bird] was hit, my drowsiness went away and I realized that it was sinking."
Hailing from Abdullahpur village in Tongibari upazila of Munshiganj, Sumon is a fruit trader at Badamtoli in Old Dhaka. He was going to Dhaka on Monday for his business purpose like every other day.
As the launch was sinking, he tried to come out of it but could not, Sumon said.
"At first, I was standing in waist-deep water and its level was increasing gradually. At one stage, I managed to stand at a place holding a steel rod beside the engine room.
"I saw a floating substance in the water, but could not hold it."
The fruit trader, 38, said that it was only the Almighty who saved his life.
At the time of the ordeal, he performed ablutions as well, Sumon said, adding that he also recited surahs from the Quran.
Thirty-four people died when the Morning Bird, coming from Munshiganj, sank in the Buriganga after a larger vessel -- Mayur 2 -- in reverse horrifically crashed into it near Farashganj Ghat in Dhaka on Monday morning.
The lone survivor was rushed to the Emergency Department of Mitford Hospital soon after he was rescued around 10:30pm on Monday.
State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury termed the incident as a miracle and lauded the divers for their effort.
Mitford Hospital Director Brig Gen Kazi Md Rashid Un Nabi told Dhaka Tribune on Tuesday that Sumon was much better now and undergoing treatment at the medicine ward.
"Doctors will make the decision regarding his discharge," he added.
When asked about Sumon's underwater survival, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) Chairman Commodore Golam Sadeq told journalists that sometimes air pockets are created at places in ships or launches when it sinks.
"[In this case] he [Sumon] might have taken shelter in an airtight place. We will check that as well."